Contemporary Christian Music Watch
By Jim Galipeau

The children are back in school, the weather has cooled, and the leaves are changing colors ... it's fall, my personal favorite season of the year! As usual, fall is a busy time of year for contemporary Christian music. In fact, a Louisville group has just released their new album under the Benson Music Group label. So Excited ... A Cappella is the title of the project from Straight Company, a five-member mixed a cappella group. You might have caught them recently when they sang the national anthem before a Redbirds game. Straight Company has been together for several years, but recently signed with Benson after an impromptu audition for the president of Benson in the lobby of a hotel! Speaking of presidential . . . the group performed recently for Vice President Al Gore at a family policy conference in Nashville. The next time they're in Louisville you've got to see them!

There's been a lot of turmoil lately in Russia, but several mission organizations have been able to enter the country to share the message of Jesus. The group Truth, with the help of WorldHelp, recently toured the countries of Russia, Romania and Hungary. Not only did the group sing, but also helped distribute 80,000 Bibles and two tons of medical supplies.

ASCAP will hold its ninth annual Gospel Songwriter Workshop in November. The workshop is open to anyone, and is free of charge. If you're interested, send a cassette of an original song with a lyric sheet with your name, address and telephone number to ASCAP Gospel Workshop, 2 Music Square West, Nashville, TN 37203. By the way, the meetings will be held on four consecutive Monday nights, starting November 15.

What do Steven Curtis Chapman, Glen Campbell and Andrea Crouch all have in common? Besides the fact that they are all male gospel artists, they are also part of the judging team for Billboard's 5th Annual Song Contest. One of the categories is gospel, and the winner in that category, as well as six others, will receive a publishing contract from BMG music.

For those of you who just can't get enough of Michael W. Smith, you'll soon have three new projects to choose from. First there's The First Decade, with the best toons of Smitty from the past ten years. Then there's The Wonder Years — a limited edition box set with over 30 songs and a photo retrospect souvenir book. There will be only 50,000 boxed sets produced and they will retail for close to 30 bucks. Finally, if you want to re-live a Michael W. Smith concert, look for The Change Your World Live Concert Video. The video features 12 songs, with conversation with Smith woven throughout the performance.

If you're still wishing you were in the '60s, Warner Alliance has a new project to fulfill your dreams. Patsy Moore is in L.A. working on "The Flower Child's Guide to Love and Fashion" produced by John Hug.

Finally, Christmas is only a couple of months away, so let's look at a new Christmas album featuring Be Be and Ce Ce Winans. The brother-and-sister team will be included on the David Foster-produced album Grown-up Christmas. Also on the project are Peabo Bryson, Natalie Cole, Celine Dion, Roberta Flack and Wynonna Judd. Kind of makes you realize you'd better get hoppin' on that shopping list!


Walk in the Dark Wayne Watson

Innocent Eyes Susan Ashton

Still Called Today Steven Curtis Chapman

The River Carman

Strange Way to Save the World 4 Him

Over You David Meece

Perfect World Dick & Mel Tunney

Straight Company So Excited

Midnight Oil Phillips, Craig & Dean

A Reason to Live Cindy Morgan